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"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation
Category Archives: Elieser Palma Pupo
June 20, 2013Posted by on
A National Revolutionary Police (PNR) official shot a 24 year old male to death in the municipality of San German, Holguin province, during the morning hours of this past 5th of June. The young Cuban was Eliesmer Acosta Rodriguez who was riding a horse at the moment and eventually had a confrontation with the agent. Cases like these are not rare, according to the Holguin activist Eliecer Palma.
The dissident explains that although the young Acosta Rodriguez was known for his “disorderly conduct“, his death was still a crime- a crime which has been happening with much more frequency in San German.
“San German continues to have a high rate of murders, whether it be by gun or with machete attacks… it’s actually very worrying, and the locals are starting to reflect this worry“, said Palma, who affirms that many neighbors have visited him to communicate their state of insecurity. They trust that he will publish their denouncements through alternative mediums in other parts of the island and abroad.
The sharp climb of crime rates seems to also be accompanied by a certain state of impunity seeing as, most of the time, the culprits belong to official organs.
“There are often cases where justice is not served“, affirms the activist, member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, “for example, one citizen confirmed to me that he was a witness of an assassination where a PNR official from Havana, who had a girlfriend in this Eastern zone, arrived one day dressed in civilian clothing and carrying a gun. He had an argument with two workers and he shot each of them. They both died on the spot. As of today, there has been no justice. There was never a trial and the families of the victims are completely destroyed“.
Palma adds that, in his investigations, he found that “the parents of the person who shot are high ranking officers of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) and when the events took place he was returned to Havana and the case just stayed like that…no other actions were taken“.
A number of years have passed since that incident. In the meantime, San German has seen the rise of these murders.
In another more recent case, the pro-freedom activist recounts that “a 30 year old male who worked as a guard in one of ETECSA’s antennas got a gun and went to the Educational Direction of San German and shot one of the workers to death“.
In this specific case, the assassin was detained but he still has not been sentenced.
Meanwhile, this past 16th of June there was a “brawl” between PNR officials and various citizens in the Nocturnal Cabaret of San German, said the activist.
“There was a confrontation between 3 police agents and various citizens who were in a party. Supposedly, the PNR was looking to capture a criminal, but upon arriving to the Cabaret the Second Chief named Leonardo started to attack all the people with tear gas“, he says, “and this led to an argument and then a rather large and violent confrontation with the officials“.
Robberies have also skyrocketed in the municipality, many times carried out by the very own police agents, assures Palma.
In addition, criminals are used by police forces to keep vigilance over and harass human rights activists in that area, whether it be out on the streets or during arbitrary detentions in police units.
“I had the uncomfortable experiencing of sharing a dungeon for 5 days with a man who attacked a lady with machetes when I was recently detained in San German“, recounts Eliecer.
These tactics are frequently employed against members of the Cuban opposition.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Eliecer Palma – Cell Phone: +52-771-487 / Twitter: @eliecerpalma1
June 10, 2013Posted by on
As occurs each Sunday, dozens of Ladies in White took to the streets of their respective cities this June 9th to participate in Mass and pray for the freedom of all political prisoners and later carry out civic marches carrying flowers and photos of some prisoners.
In the Cuban capital- Havana- 76 Ladies in White participated in Mass in the Santa Rita Church, according to a message published by dissident and former political prisoner Ivan Hernandez Carrillo on his Twitter account (@ivanlibre). Moments later, Angel Moya Acosta, also a former political prisoner of conscience, tweeted (@jangelmoya) that 62 women carried out the habitual march down 5th Avenue accompanied by another 40 male activists.
In the central province of Villa Clara, 6 Ladies in White marched and assisted Mass, while in Sancti Spiritus 2 women managed to do the same.
Ivan Hernandez added that a total of 21 women marched and made it to Mass in the province of Matanzas. 7 of them made it to the city of Colon, 12 in Cardenas and another 2 in Perico.
In the Eastern province of Santiago de Cuba 40 women marched to El Cobre National Shrine. At least 3 arrests were confirmed, however, according to Hernandez Carrillo. The detainees were Moraima Díaz Pérez, Edelmis León and Graciela Domínguez.
Sayli Navarro, a young member of the Ladies in White, informed on her Twitter account (@SayliNavarro) that a total of 12 women marched and made it to Santa Catalina de Ricci Parish in the province of Guantanamo, despite the strong vigilance on behalf of State Security agents.
In Holguin province, various arrests occurred, among them of Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez in the municipality of Banes. She told this blog that “just like every other Sunday, I was detained by State Security and forcefully taken to the local police unit, amid verbal threats“. Last weekend, the same agents threatened to handcuff and beat Ojeda.
The dissident has been victim of constant vigilance and police persecution. In fact, the government agents have raided her home and carried out numerous acts of repudiation on various occasions. These actions have mainly affected her underage children.
“All of this is proof that repression against Ladies in White and the opposition continues in Cuba. That is why I am denouncing, for all the world to hear, all these arrests I am being victim of, as well as my other sisters in struggle, all of them carried out by the dictatorship of the Castro brothers“, declared Gertrudis.
A number of other women were able to march in the municipality of Holguin. Meanwhile, in the municipality of San German activist Eliecer Palma used his Twitter account (@eliecerpalma1) to confirm that 6 Ladies in White “managed to march and participated in the Church of San German, along with other dissidents”.
It’s important to point out that each one of these cases where Ladies in White march there has also been a strong presence by the political police which sets up cordons days before to arrest the women or to keep watch over them. Many times, the Ladies in White have to leave their homes on Friday or during dawn hours of Saturday and passing through fields or desolate places to arrive to their respective churches and surpass these cordons.
Regardless, these women continue out on the streets so that the everyday people can listen to their demands and to show them that it is possible to obtain a public space on the island, despite the dictatorship’s repression.
March 22, 2013Posted by on
During the midnight hours of March 21st, the paramilitary agent Miguel Sarduy stabbed Juan Pavon, a citizen of San German, Holguin, to death, according to a report by human rights activist Eliecer Palma, of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO), in his Twitter account (@eliecerpalma1).
In conversation with this blog, Palma said that he had confirmed the news after talking to neighbors who witnessed the crime.
The victim, Juan Pavon, who lived on 13th Street, “dedicated himself to lend money to people, and Sarduy had an outstanding debt with him. With this already existing debt, Sarduy told him to lend him more money, which Pavon refused. The response of the paramilitary agent was to tell him ‘I am going to kill you’ and that is exactly what he did“, explained Eliecer.
Pavon’s body was found with 7 stab wounds. He leaves behind two children, one female and one male. He was about 60 years old and had already retired.
Miguel Sarduy, also known as ‘Mingue’, “is a man who is despised in this community of San German. This man was used by State Security to act as a vigilante for the regime, to watch us, the activists, to impede our rights. He was completely at their service“.
Recently exiled dissident Luis Felipe Rojas Rosabal has denounced Sarduy in the past on his blog, “Crossing the Barbed Wire”. In Rojas’ case, the agent would constantly keep watch over him and his family; he would threaten and repudiate them, all under the orders of State Security. Other repressors like Jorge Leyva and Alredo Caraba Llosa operated alongside him.
“Miguel Sarduy is one of the typical cases in Cuba where the police uses citizens who have committed crimes for their dirty work“, said Rojas Rosabal from Miami, “Up to the moment of committing the crime- a murder in this case- his job was to watch us dissidents in San German. He would follow each of our steps, or he would just stand outside his house to inform who would go in and out of my house, then he would inform another ‘informant’ and, in sum, for the political police. And it’s something that they still do in Cuba, use delinquents and criminals to harass and provoke peaceful human rights defenders“.
The authorities have detained Sarduy, although it is not clear if they will process him. Just three days ago, he physically assaulted his sister, which resulted in his detention, but he was freed a few days later, according to Eliecer Palma.
Palma adds that the fact that the political police uses people like Sarduy to repress dissidents constitutes a grave danger for the lives of all those who decided to publicly oppose the Cuban dictatorship.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Eliecer Palma- Cell Phone: +52-771-487 / Twitter: @eliecerpalma1
March 13, 2013Posted by on
Three different cases of acts of repudiation, acts of vandalism, and arrests were recently reported in different parts of Cuba. These actions not only affected the targeted dissidents, but also their relatives, leaving scars especially on those who are underage. These crimes, executed by the political police, are nothing new in totalitarian Cuba, but in this post, we document 3 new cases. Vueltas, San German, Palma Soriano. Three different towns and three similar actions against activists of diverse pro-freedom groups.
Friday, March 8th, 2013. Vueltas, Villa Clara. Raúl González and Niurcy Acosta Pacheco, a couple belonging to the dissident Cuban Reflection Movement, dropped off their 11 year old son, Daniel David, at a friend’s house to celebrate his birthday. The last thing they expected that afternoon was that Daniel would be arrested for being present at a party.
González, in conversation with“Radio Republica”, said that during the party the children started to play with fireworks, among them those known as “small bombs”. It was then that the Chief of Sector of Vueltas, whose last name is Mesa, showed up to the house, snatching the ‘toys’ away from all the children and sending them home- all of them except Daniel, who he forcefully took to the local National Revolutionary Police unit. Mesa told the young boy that his friends were waiting for him in the mentioned unit, but it was just blackmail.
The child told the official that he did not have to be in that place. Mesa’s response, as well as that of other functionaries, was to threaten Daniel with being handcuffed.
Daniel was detained for a little more than two hours. “At about 10:30 PM he was left outside and told to go back home on his own”, denounced his father in the same audio. A friendly neighbor recognized the child and helped him get back home. His parents, Raul and Niurcy, presented complaints in different institutions but have received no response.
“We know very well that this is just a method [of State Security] to try and destabilize the kid, and at the same time, us”, said Raul Gonzalez.
Monday, March 11th, 2013. San German, Holguín. At about 1 AM, the home of the sister of activist Eliecer Palma Pupo, of the Eastern Democratic Alliance, was stoned by various unidentified people who ran away after committing the acts of vandalism. The activist’s mother and sister were inside the house, and so was his 6 year old daughter.
This was not the first time the house, where Eliecer spends much of his time, is attacked with rocks. According to another audio of ‘Radio Republica’, one of the cases the activist recalls was in 2011, and during the current year of 2013, he has received numerous threats from State Security, especially the agent who goes by the name of Julian, who told him he’d take take repressive measures against him because of his activism. This is why Palma Pupo assures that the actions were carried out by the regime.
Afterward, the dissident explained to this blog that “one of the rocks penetrated a window, broke the blinds, and landed very close to my daughter. This has left her very afraid“.
Eliecer and his sister went to the PNR unit of San German to formally present a complaint. Up to the moment, the authorities have ignored their demand.
Saturday, March 9th, 2013. Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba. Of the three cases, the most violent. Jose Ramos Corrales, member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) made a call of desperation and condemnation after his home, located in the neighborhood of Nuevo Palma, was surrounded by mobs organized by the political police. The members of the hate mob were armed with stones, bottles, sticks and machetes and challenged the dissident and his family to step outside so that they “could kill them”.
In audios published on the YouTube channel of UNPACU and ‘Radio Republica’, Ramos recounted that his 10 year old daughter was inside the house, hearing all the vulgar insults being shouted and witnessing all the acts of violence.
Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, said in his Twitter account (@jdanielferrer) that the mobs “tore down the fence and the wall [of Ramos’ home], they stole their furniture, clothes, a kitchen stove and even a small car to sell pizzas” that they had inside.
“The entire operation against the Ramos-Marrero family was directed by the Communist Party and the agents of its political police”, added another message by Ferrer.
Meanwhile, Ramos was violently arrested during the raid and he was kept in a cell until Monday, just to find his house surrounded once again for another act of repudiation. The same mobs once again threatened him and his family with death.
Ramos expressed the most worry for his young daughter, denouncing that he has had to take her to a mental health doctor to try and calm her nerves.
The video of this repudiation, and the moment of desperation faced by the young girl, was captured on video and published by UNPACU. See for yourselves:
March 1, 2013Posted by on
Each day, there are more Cubans who, through the “internet without internet”, use Twitter to narrate the real Cuba and to shatter censorship. They are dissidents, bloggers, intellectuals, farmers…Cubans hailing from diverse corners of the country. It’s difficult for them to send out these messages, considering that it costs 1 dollar (an elevated amount for Cubans), and yet, they still do it.
The following are a couple of follow recommendations of new or recent Twitter users, straight from the island:
Maydelis González Almeida
Resident of Quemado de Guines, Villa Clara, member of the Cuban Reflection Movement. She and her family are constantly persecuted by the political police but they continue defying the dictatorship out in the streets.
Carlos Michael Morales
An independent journalist and alternative blogger (‘El Amante de la Libertad’), Carlos Michael is also a member of the Central Opposition Coalition. He has used his account to denounce cases of political repression, social issues and achievements by pro-freedom activists.
Isael Poveda Silva
Member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance and of their information agency ADO-Press, Isael Poveda tweets from Guantanamo, narrating the reality of that Eastern region: cholera outbreaks, signs which appear in public with anti-regime messages, public marches, evictions, and more.
Santa Gonzalez Pedroso
A very brave Cuban woman, member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, she carries out frequent public protests alongside other dissidents in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila. Santa Gonzalez does an excellent job on Twitter denouncing human rights violations in that area and documenting the growing level of opposition.
Tweeting from San German, Holguin, Eliecer just opened his account, promising important news from the Cuba ignored by the state media. Palma has been reporting important social issues, like a recent massive strike by carriage drivers in San German.
Yanisbel Valido Perez
One of the most active young dissidents in the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara province. Valido Perez is the representative of the Cuban Rafters without Frontiers Movement and member of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights. She is frequently arrested by the political police but does not stop carrying out public activities in favor of freedom, nor does she stop informing about them on her account.
These were just some of the new Twitter users from Cuba. Everyday there are more. Give them a follow!
January 30, 2012Posted by on
The home of dissident blogger Luis Felipe Rojas in San German, Holguin, remained surrounded by uniformed political police agents throughout the entire day of Saturday, January 28th, which was also the anniversary of Jose Marti’s birth, the poet and leading Cuban freedom fighter, known best as “the apostle of Cuba”. Just two days prior to the aggressive surveillance, Rojas’ home was the target of vandalism at the hands of mobs directed by the Cuban regime who threw paint at the front part of the house.
“My house is always under vigilance“, denounces Rojas, “but now it’s completely surrounded by political police agents dressed in uniformed and carrying arms. There are police vehicles, an olive green Jeep belonging to the Operational Guard, and various motorcycles belonging to the political police“. In addition, the dissident and friend of Rojas- Elieser Palma Pupo- was arrested as he tried to make it to the surrounded home. “The arrest occurred at around 5 pm and was carried out by Captain Abel Ramirez and Lieutenant Saul Vega“, whom are both State Security functionaries, informed the independent blogger.
As soon as the arrest took place, Luis Felipe stepped out of his home and began to question the functionaries of the regime. During the exchange- which in reality was more like an argument- agent Abel Ramirez accused Rojas and his family of having staged the whole ordeal and thrown paint on his own house in order “to provoke something“, according to the dissident, who also added that numerous neighbors showed solidarity with him, denouncing the tactics of the Castro regime.
“Though we know it is pointless, we have denounced the case of the vandalism in my house in a police unit of San German“, explained Rojas “and they told me they would come to my house in a few hours, but 48 hours have passed and they have not come, since they cannot accuse themselves“.
As a product of the manipulation and repression of the Cuban dictatorship, Luis Felipe Rojas expresses that he profoundly worries about his wife and two children- a daughter of 4 and a son of 8. “My son Malcom has been suffering nervous issues for quite some time” , assured Rojas, outlining that it is product of all the repression the young one must see, including when his father gets arrested just for opposing the regime and freely writing his ideas.
“I am sending out an alert in regards to what can happen to me and my family“, said Rojas, “and I accuse the Cuban government and- specifically- three political police officials who are Yordanis Martínez León, chief of the so called ‘Enemy Confrontation’ brigades, Captain Abel Ramirez, and Lieutenant Saul Vega for the most recent arbitrary arrests, arbitrary vigilance around my house and now for vandalizing my house through an act of terrorism“. The dissident added that he would try to contact pro-human rights international organizations to present a formal denouncement.
In addition to the constant vigilance, Rojas’ cell phone has been blocked by the regime on a nearly constant basis, impeding the journalist from sending out Twitter or text messages, considering that the blogger interviews dissidents throughout the country, captures images of the Cuban reality, and never keeps his denouncements quiet”.
For more info: 011-5352-771-487 (Luis Felipe Rojas)/ 011-5353-684-380 (Exilda Arjona, wife of Rojas).